Esquire reports on the growing debate over the patenting of genetic material. If it was invented in a lab it can be patented -- and this applies to genetically altered living organisms. GE patented an oil eating bacteria. But with the publication of the human genome map, the rush is on to patent your genes right out from under you. The gene for breast cancer has already been patented and if you want to get a test to see if you have that gene there are royalties to be paid. Patents are supposed to keep scientific discoveries public, while allowing patent holders to turn a profit. The lines get blurry when genetic information is at stake.
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